Arian Foster is joining a growing number of players who have criticized the NFL’s Pro Bowl on what could be eve of its last playing.
Hit by critics who say the game is too relaxed and players don’t take it seriously — there is no blitzing in the game, and hits to the quarterback or hard hits on players are taboo — the NFL said it could axe the Pro Bowl after this year if the game doesn’t improve. But not before players and critics get their last shots in.
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster said the format of the game prevents players from going 100 percent, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“This isn’t basketball,” Foster said after practice. “You can’t go play a pickup game of football. If that’s what they expect and they’re going to take it away because of that, it’s probably going to be what it is. You can’t really expect that from guys that play 16-plus games a season and it to be a competitive game.”
Foster added that he respects the Pro Bowl itself, but that there is no way to keep the game competitive.
“Everybody’s all ‘the Pro Bowl’s a joke.’ I think it’s an honor and a tradition. But for you to expect the best athletes in the NFL to come out and play a game 100 percent when you can’t game plan, you can’t blitz, you can’t do all these things, it’s just not going to be competitive like everybody wants it to be. We’re going to try to step it up a notch this year, but at the end of the day, you’re not going to see 100 percent effort out there, it’s just not going to happen.”
Veteran quarterback Peyton Manning said there is still value in the Pro Bowl, NFL.com noted.
“Don’t tell me there’s not great value in that conversation,” Manning said, adding that the Pro Bowl allows younger players to interact with veterans. “If they cancel this, then I think the NFL will lose that. Is there monetary value in that conversation? I would argue yes. I would argue that’s helping keep the NFL as great as it is. So I’d hate for it to be canceled.”